Warm Weather Effects on Spawning?

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
garman's picture
Warm Weather Effects on Spawning?

My handy redhorse cheat sheet from moxostoma.com tells me shortheads spawn at 47 degrees and silvers at 56.  But with the rapid temperature increase this spring, our local stream was at a given temp for maybe just one day.   Might they have a short or nonexistent spawn this year?  Or is the spawn temp just a minimum and they'll continue to spawn pretty regularly?  

My biological indicators (flower blooms, dragonflies returning, bat activity) are running two to four weeks ahead of past years. What other effects might you foresee?

roughfish29's picture
pretty sure they'll still run

pretty sure they'll still run, but just for a shorter amount of time. this true?

Jknuth's picture
Its all messed up this year.

Its all messed up this year.
I took my Kayak out for a quick test run on the lake and the water was nice. 
After talking to people who fish the river regularly they have said they are starting to get whitebass and they are milting. 
The whitebass run normally starts around mothers day. our lilac trees not only have leaves but the buds of flowers. Normally there is quite a gap between the leaves and flowers. Not this year. 
The white suckers are done spawning in many local creeks and the carp are starting to splash in the shallows. 
One water temp reading today was 62 degrees in a shallow bay. 
62* in MARCH 

Its nuts, I have never seen a winter this mild and a spring this violently early. I keep expecting it to drop temps, but the forecast is holding. 
I may have to mow my lawn before I leave. 

Last year on March 18th I was jigging for lake trout and whitefish on Green Lake in central wisconsin.

Jknuth's picture
HOLY COW! I just got back

HOLY COW! I just got back from southern Wisconsin from a delivery. 
The Bigmouth Buffalo are spawning in the flooded grass along the rivers. I didnt have time to fish, but i saw dozens of the black tailed beasts thrashing around in the shallows.
A friend who lives on the river said the pupmkinseed sunfish are bedded up already. 


Cast_and_Blast's picture
Pumpkins bedding up already? 

Pumpkins bedding up already?  Really?  This is a strange year.

I have even seen some shaded potholes with ice on them yet last weekend.  The Mississippi is low but the Chippewa is high and cold from snow melt a week or two ago from up north.  The Chippewa watershed received a snow dumping about a month ago and that is what we are seeing here in Eau Claire now. 

Gunnar's picture
A creek I frequent is higher

A creek I frequent is higher than its usual April temp, which is when the shortheads usually spawn. They've not even started yet, but I'm hopeful they will any day. The unusually thick one I caught the other day might have been jam-packed with eggs.

Whites were spawning, which I've never observed there before.

We need more setups like the Wolf River Cams so we could observe even when we can't get out there in person.


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com

2019: 16 days fishing 25 species 7 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

Corey's picture

And scumfoot is five feet out of the water and fishable.  I'm just sayin'....

garman's picture
Warm Weather and Spawn


Official GASS Science Advisor, Jamie Ladonski, Instructor at South Dakota State University writes:

This year is sure giving us some bizarre weather, it will be interesting to see how the fish respond.


Spawning in many species is tied to water temps but also light levels (=day length).  I’m sure the importance of one factor vs the other probably varies between species, and keen observation this year may show how important day length is in this process, compared to just temps.  Warm temps do speed up development, but many of the changes associated with spawning are hormone-based, which means they are regulated by the pituitary gland in the brain (which is sensitive to light levels).  I’d be interested to hear about any observations you make this spring on the fish behavior, vs. prior years.  This is a great opportunity to do some science!





James B. Ladonski


Department of Biology and Microbiology

South Dakota State University

Muskymags's picture
I think it could be good.

I'm not sure this early spring is going to turn into a early summer.  I have a feeling we're gonna hold in spring for awhile.  I think it could be a extra long spring spawning season with species possibly spawning twice.  I'm amped and can't wait to get out!

the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
Down my way, I haven't

Down my way, I haven't observed the suckers much, but shiners, chubs, bass, walleye, sauger, fatheads, sunffish, crappie, and catfish have been active and shallow for well over a month.




Let there be fire!

Phil's picture
The white sucker spawn is in

The white sucker spawn is in full swing in the north metro of the Twin Cities right as of right now.  I heard them splashing in the nearby riffle last night and spent some time today observing -they are striped up and still going strong this evening.  Hard to say what April will bring but one thing is clear - begun the roughfishing season has.

weedfish's picture
suckers/bowfin/pike well underway spawning in southern ontario

we in the toronto area observing spawning suckers and pike pods....

the bowfin have built nests and are pushing the pike out of the spawning bays...

the bowfin seem to be also stabilizing their metabolisms

the earliest i have seen bowfin building nests etc. was end of april

bowfin are month of may spawners around here...

march 25 located 250 to 300 carp all in one bay..warmer water....

gonna be -7 here on march 26 night...then warm up to 18 over the next few days

remember your place among all living beings

"the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"......eleanor roosevelt

"rotten fish" why are they so much smarter than me